April 4, 2018 - Pittsburgh City Paper

Page 18

ARTS+ENTERTAINMENT

CP PHOTO BY SARAH HUNY YOUNG

Clara Kent

.MUSIC.

THE UNIVERSE PROVIDES

“The album was a healing process, but I wanted others to experience it.” BY MEG FAIR // MEGFAIR@PGHCITYPAPER.COM

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HE NIGHT BEFORE Pittsburgh neo-soul artist Clara Kent opened for Wyclef Jean at SXSW, she was in the emergency room suffering from an intense allergic reaction. “I was on, like, six Benadryl and an EpiPen all night,” laughs Kent. But rather than retreat or panic, the next day Kent poured herself into a charismatic performance. “I like to have the audience rock with me, jam with me, loosen up,” explains Kent, dancing in her seat and bathed in the sunshine pouring in through the windows of Bantha Tea House, during an interview with City Paper. It’s hard not to loosen up around Kent. Her smile and laugh are infectious, and creative energy hangs around her, attracting the notice of others.

If the words “powerful aura” are coming to mind, it’s only fitting. Kent released her debut record, A U R A, at the end of February. It’s a collection of incredibly intimate songs that are vibey, vulnerable, spiritual and soulful. The 11 tracks, produced and engineered by close friends and collaborators Yorel Tifsim and Bilal Abbey, are essentially a diary of several years of Kent’s life. “I was literally writing A U R A in the mindframe of a journal. It was awkward at first, but it was a relief. Because for a long time in my life, I would hide certain feelings, because I was ashamed, or there was an expectation of how I had to be,” she explains. “But once I started embracing myself, and shedding the expectations and obligations, and started allowing myself to be, that’s where A U R A came from.”